MetaGesture Music team at CTM MusicMakers Hacklab


MusicMakers Hacklab is a weeklong open, collaborative laboratory hosted by Peter Kirn of CDM ( and musician and media artist Leslie Garcia ( It allows practitioners from a range of disciplines to find new ways of exploring hybrid systems of human body, biology, and sound.

Now entering its 3rd edition within the CTM Festival, the Hacklab takes on the theme Tuning Machines, relating to some of the technological ramifications of CTM 2015 Un Tune.

Atau Tanaka gave a talk entitled “Electromyogram Signals (EMG) in Musical Performance”, retracing the use of bio-signal sensors as musical controllers over the last 20 years. The talk centred around the BioMuse, developed by Hugh Lusted and Ben Knapp at Stanford University’s CCRMA in the late 1980s.

While Marco Donnarumma presented “Being Human:Making and Creating with Biotechnologies”, a talk arguing for the potential of biotechnologies as artistic means to understand both human bodies and machines as configurable materials that yield creative and cultural empowerment.

Miguel Ortiz and Marco Donnarumma participated in the Hacklab and collaborated for a few days to build new systems and instruments that referred to the Tuning Machines theme and then played these systems and instruments live in a public showcase at the conclusion of the week.

Ortiz collaborated with Francisco Marques-Teixeira (MuArts collective and Neurobios, Portugal); Horácio Tomé-Marques (MuArts collective, ESMAE – Escola Superior de Música, Artes e Espetáculo and University of Porto) – Francisca Rocha Gonçalves (University of Porto). They worked on a project called SonicMinds that uses the brainwaves of two performers to trigger musical processes in real time. Variations in the brain activity of each performer excites a set of 14 granular synthesisers (one for each electrode on the headset). The changes of the incoming signals change the parameters of each synth and the raw energy of each independent electrode controls the mixing and balance of the independent sources. The resulting sounds from each performer are then sent to a DJ who mixes both sources as they evolve over time.

Donnarumma collaborated with Theresa Schubert (Bauhaus University, Weimar) on a project that looked at the sound produced by the unborn child that Schubert is about to give life to. Sensing Schubert pregnant body using the Xth Sense, a biophysical technology, they have turned the heartbeat of the unborn child into haptic pattern that were transmitted to a garment worn by a spectator on the belly. At the same time, the same heartbeat was amplified in real time and sonified using scanned synthesis, resulting in intense drone-like sounds changing according to the contractions of the child’s heartbeat.

Donnarumma Schubert CTM 2015

Keep an eye for next year MusicMakers Hacklab at CTM and don’t miss the next open call!